A planned visit to State House by Western region leaders may have run into headwinds after sharp divisions emerged.
Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi is said to have called President Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss the visit after learning of a plan by Opposition leader Raila Odinga to lead the delegation.
A source privy to the planned visit told People Daily that Mudavadi wants to take control of any political engagement with the government by the region’s leaders.
On July 31, Raila met elected leaders from Western in a meeting convened by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya where the State House visit was deliberated, among other issues.
And immediately after the Raila meeting, Mudavadi summoned his party top brass and formed a committee chaired by Luanda MP Chris Omulele to chart the outfit’s role in the visit. This is seen as Mudavadi’s quest to buttress his position as the de facto Luhya leader.
“The committee came up with a recommendation that the ANC will only be party to any arrangement to visit State House only if the delegation is led by Mudavadi. That remains our position,” said Butere MP Tindi Mwale, a close ally of Mudavadi.
However, outspoken Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala yesterday said the state House Visit was on course, adding that the leaders were likely to meet the President before the Mashujaa Day celebrations set for Kakamega next month.
“Those opposed to Raila taking western leaders to State House are dreaming. Only Raila and President Uhuru were behind the handshake, not any other Opposition leader,” said the senator in reference to the influence Raila wields in negotiation with the government.
But a close ally of Mudavadi told People Daily that visit under the leadership of the ANC party boss was likely to take place immediately Uhuru returns to the country after his US scheduled visit for the United Nations General Assembly set to kick off on September 18.
“There will be no State House visit if Mudavadi is not involved. In any case he has the support of 90 per cent of the region’s elected leaders. You cannot take five MPs to State House and claim to have delivered a region,” said an ANC official who requested not to be named as he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the party.
MPs allied to Mudavadi vowed they will only be in the visit if only the delegation is led by Mudavadi. The team, which also include Ford Kenya MPs, have since initiated talks with top Jubilee Party officials to discuss the visit.
The ANC team has also joined ranks with Jubilee point men in the region to oppose any plot to alienate Mudavadi in the regional matters.
The planned visit has created a wedge between Western leaders tussle for the region’s leader persists amid calls for elusive Luhya unity.
Malala insisted that Raila would take to State House “those interested while those opposed will find their own date.”